Jasper Tomkins Home Page Contact Jasper Tomkins New News about Jasper Tomkins Books by Jasper Tomkins School Programs with Jasper Tomkins Who is Jasper Tomkins

Jasper Tomkins is the author and illustrator of eleven books (with many more waiting in the wings). Among them, The Catalog, winning the International Children’s Book Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and the National Children’s Choice Award. Nimby received the Washington State Children’s Choice Award and The Hole in the Ocean, the National Parent’s Choice Award. For his The Sky Jumps Into Your Shoes At Night he received the National Children’s Choice Award.

Jasper grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Every summer his parents whisked him away to the wilds of nature to experience mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, bears, porcupines, and snakes. And then oceans, islands, whales, rocks, sand, ants, and eagles. Every September it was time to go back to school where Jasper was a quiet student usually hiding in the back of the room working on secret science projects he had hidden in his desk (in second grade he had so many projects, his teacher gave him two desks). If you peeked over his shoulder, you might have found him making funny drawings that he wouldn’t show to anyone. He thought they were terrible and wished he could draw like his mother.

Jasper studied both science and art; graduating with a BFA in graphic design and illustration from the University of Washington. He left Seattle to work as an illustrator for a large publishing house in New York City. It was exciting learning about making books but soon he was missing and dreaming about his beloved mountains back home. After work, Jasper began making his own books about the wonders and delight he found in nature even though he was surrounded by skyscrapers. In 1981 his first book was published, The Catalog, about three mountains and what they order when they each receive a catalog in their mailbox. Within weeks the book was awarded at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy and went on to win further awards in the United States.

As Jasper continued creating more award winning books, he also was in demand as an inspiring speaker for elementary schools across the country and even in China. He found adventures everywhere. He moved to the mountains. He moved to an island. He moved to the prairie near Mt. Rainier. And then to top it all off, in 2007 he moved 3000 miles east to the top of a happy little mountain in the middle of Vermont. His most recent books are Catwalk, about a boy taking a walk with his seven cats who doesn’t know what they’re doing behind his back, and The Camelback Dogs, a story about some remarkable creatures; they remember the Big Bang and count to infinity twice a day just for fun. They take a young boy on a journey through the universe that ends up with a harpsichord concert.

Jasper is currently absorbing the wonders of his unique and extraordinary environment while completing the construction of a beautiful studio for making more books and with lots of room for creating new sculptures using old barn wood, metal and slumped glass. “And not only that; he’s a quite a musician,” says his sweetheart, Dian. “He even built his own harpsichord when he was 15!” He plays the piano (he yearns for a huge Bösendorfer), guitar, kalimba, harpsichord, flutes, and a collection of synthesizers. His head swirls with possibilities for new projects involving stone fences, secret boxes, lookout towers, ant lions, aliens, magnetism, round barns, and fireflies. Definitely fireflies. And BIG lightning.


"His spoken words sparkled like dew drops on a spider’s silky threads, weaving a web of wonder for his young listeners."
     —Daily World

"If you haven’t read a book by Tomkins, now is the time. They are cherished as much by adults as children."
     —Washington Magazine

".....an exhilarating flight of fancy, a love of a book with pictures so cleverly drawn that the author makes one eager to believe his tale. "      —Publisher’s Weekly

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